"IT'S CHANGED. BUT IT HASN'T."

KRAFT HEINZ / MAC & CHEESE RELAUNCH SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN

SUMMARY

Question: How do you change an iconic brand to which millions of Americans have an emotional attachment without causing an uproar?

Answer: You don't tell them it changed (until you have proof they still love it).

 

To keep up with the seismic shift in consumer interests, Kraft Heinz changed its iconic Mac & Cheese recipe, removing artificial preservatives, flavors and dyes, replacing them with natural ingredients (paprika, annatto, and turmeric) that maintained the classic yellow hue.

 

But the company took an unconventional approach to rolling it out: It didn't tell anyone.

 

In late 2015, Kraft Heinz "quietly" started putting boxes with the new formula on store shelves across the country and conducting the "world's largest blind taste test." After a few months, Kraft Heinz revealed the change to consumers with a massive integrated social media, marketing and PR campaign with the theme, "It's changed. But it hasn't," showing that even the most die-hard Mac & Cheese fans couldn’t tell the difference between the previous and new recipe.

 

This campaign was the largest in the company's existence and featured a full-scale social media and consumer engagement strategy, influencer partnerships, paid advertising across all mediums, and much more.

MY ROLE

 

As head of social media, I oversaw all facets of the campaign's social strategy, including the following components: 

  • Executed full-scale social media engagement strategy, overseeing all interactions with consumers throughout campaign (and after)

  • Created consumer response language used across social channels to ensure brand and message consistency 

  • Oversaw "Looking Glass" operation, a dedicated suite used for real-time monitoring of social campaigns; utilized for initial 10 days of campaign launch (14+ hours of daily monitoring)

  • Conducted active listening for mentions, tags, comments, influencer activity, media coverage and other engagement opportunities

  • Led team of 12 social media representatives who actively engaged with consumers

  • Worked closely with multiple external agencies to create communications plans, identify opportunities and potential threats

  • Participated in influencer marketing strategy with major celebrities including Mindy Kaling and others

  • Provided internal counsel on organic and paid posting strategies

  • Served as internal thought leader for all social engagement matters

  • Actively measured sentiment and share of voice across social media landscape

  • Gathered and reported results to senior management, including C-suite

THE RESULTS

  • More than 80 million boxes sold during campaign period

  • 92% positive response sentiment on social media

  • Increased revenue following campaign

  • Winner of multiple industry awards, including Cannes Lions International Creativity for Integrated Marketing  

  • Established new social engagement and monitoring model for major campaigns and product launches 

  • Winner of 2017 Cannes Lions Creativity Award (2017)

CAMPAIGN ELEMENTS